I’ve already talked about some of the larger features in Banktivity 9 in these blog posts: Let’s look at the reports, Return of the single-line register and the original v9 announcement. But there are quite a few other changes to Banktivity 9 that are worthy of blogging about. So without any additional preamble let’s dive into some of the features, improvements and enhancements that made it into Banktivity 9.
Check document health
Sometimes, despite best efforts, data can get a little wonky. Over the years we’ve come across various cases with customer data files where data has gotten into a bad state. Sometimes this is from a bug in the past and sometimes we don’t understand how it happened. For the last several versions of Banktivity, we have offered a hidden way to force some code to run that looks for invalid data (e.g. one of the checks is to look for a transaction that does not have a date). However, in Banktivity 9 we improved upon the data verification process and exposed it in File > Check Document Health. When you run this, the app first checks for bad data and if a problem is found, it will give you an option to fix it.
Improved reconcile behavior
Prior to version 9, when you created a statement, we would guess at the start and end dates of the statement (usually guessed to be the 1st and last day of the current month or month after the last existing statement) and then pre-populate the beginning and end balance on the dates. However, this behavior falls pretty short when reconciling your first statement because you will likely need to change your start and end dates. Of course, you’ve always been able to change the start and end dates, but prior to v9, when you did this, we didn’t change the beginning/end balances. Now, if you have not explicitly edited the balances, we populate the balances fields with gray placeholder text. This tells you what the balance of your account is for the date. When you change the date, we change the placeholder value.
Please note you can always just enter a different balance if the gray placeholder balance is incorrect. Please don’t try to edit the placeholder numbers by trying to insert the cursor between digits – just enter the amount.
We made a few changes to budgets that are worth going over. First, we added the amount over or under a budgeted category. Before, we just showed the budgeted amount and the actual spent amount, but we didn’t do that last little bit of arithmetic to show you the difference. It’s worth noting that this shows up regardless of whether or not you use envelope budgeting.
Another change we made to the budget screen is that we now show you all of your unbudgeted categories. This was based on customer feedback where people wanted to budget for a previously unbudgeted category easily. Until this change, the only way to do so was to use the budget assistant.
Our budget progress bars also got some love. They are now more dynamic and do a better job of not just taking into account if you are over or under-spending, but they now also factor in the amount of time remaining in the month. So, for example, a category with a budgeted amount of $500 with $550 in spending has different implications depending on if it is the beginning of the month or near the end. The colors and gradients of bars now better reflect these types of situations.
Better income/spending info in Summary
The Summary screen has been around for a few versions now. However, the income/spending panel has always caused some customers confusion about where the numbers are coming from below the bar graph and what to expect when you drill into the “Report >” button. Now, we give you two options to see the “current” full months of data or a rolling set of days, i.e. the last 30 days and the last 365 days. And importantly, we moved the drill-down option to be above this data so that when you drill down, you’ll always get the same results as from the previous screen. You can also click on any of the bars in the bar chart.
When you set up check printing for an account, we now show you the printable area of the page based on your printer’s specifications.
IRR calculation change
The IRR calculation is pretty handy because it takes into account how well your investments have been performing while accounting for time. For example, you’ll get a higher IRR if you have a stock that has doubled in 2 years versus a stock that has doubled over 10 years. Our change here is quite minor, but our calculations should now match the XIRR formulas in Google Sheets and Numbers to more significant digits.
Why the .bank8 extension?
Alright, this one isn’t a feature or even a change. But I did want to take this opportunity to explain why we left the .bank8 file extension. In short, the less we can change the document extension, the more seamlessly people can update and downgrade. This was the first step in de-coupling the file extension of the version you are using. Always bumping the file extension with each big release isn’t a good approach for the long-term maintenance of the app. Yeah, I wish we used .bankx or something similar instead of .bank8…live and learn. Just remember, for now, .bank8 means you have a file meant for the subscription version of Banktivity.
We improved the subscription info screen fund under File > Subscription > View My Subscription so that it now shows upcoming invoice amounts, and you can see the last four digits of the credit card you have on file that will get billed.
I appreciate you taking the time to read the entire blog post! As you can see, much work and effort went into Banktivity 9. And if you are wondering if we are “done” – the answer is, of course not! We still have lots of improvements to make and a lot of work ahead of us. Onward and upward!